Illegal Gambling and Assault Charges Upheld in Conviction of Chinese Men

Posted on: September 23, 2022, 07:09h. 

Last updated on: September 23, 2022, 01:43h.

A group of men that restaurant surveillance caught beating up women in a restaurant in China are off to prison. In addition to charges of assault, a court judge found them guilty of participating in gambling, illegal across the country.

Two women lie on the ground after a group of men beat them up
Two Chinese women lie on the ground after a group of men beat them up outside a restaurant in July. The head of the gang and his accomplices, who ran illegal gambling operations, are going to prison. (Image: South China Morning Post)

Initially, police suspected nine men were involved in the incident. However, following public outcry and complaints of corruption, authorities arrested 28 people. They also launched an investigation into 15 officials, including police officers, for corruption following the incident.

The attack left the victim bloody and bruised, and it didn’t take long for the incident to make international news. The global attention it received led to a quick trial, with 28 people looking at sentences ranging from a few months to 24 years.

A Thug’s Life

The assault occurred on June 10 at around 2:40 in the morning in Tangshan, a Chinese city located about 90 miles east of Beijing. It began after a 41-year-old man placed his hand on the back of a woman who was sharing a meal with friends.

She rejected the advances, setting off the melee as the unidentified man’s ego had suffered a fatal blow. Then, aided by accomplices, he and the others began to hit the group of women with chairs, glass bottles and punches before dragging one down the sidewalk and kicking her countless times.

Beyond the attack at the restaurant, the court imposed a particularly severe sentence on the primary assailant for leading a gang of criminals. The group operated in Tangshan and committed robberies, violence, and internet fraud. It also operated a chain of gambling dens, according to the court.

The Guangyang District People’s Court in the city of Langfang sentenced the main culprit in the attack to 24 years in prison. He also received a fine of CNY320,000 (US$44,992). The other 27 defendants received sentences ranging from six months to 11 years. Most also received fines of between CNY3,000 and CNY135,000 (US$421.80 and $18,981).

This past Monday, authorities said they are investigating 15 officials for corruption involving “evil organizations,” including those associated with the attackers. The 15, including the director of the Tangshan Public Security Bureau and officers from various police stations, are suspected of abuse of power, bribery, and other work-related crimes.

Chinese Prison No Picnic

China’s stance on gambling is no secret. It would prefer that no one gamble anywhere, even though it reluctantly accepts Macau’s place in the global gaming industry.

However, on the mainland, no means no. Gambling is off-limits and Chinese authorities are on a mission to exterminate all illegal operations.

Being sent to a Chinese prison is no picnic. But the thought doesn’t stop crooks from launching their schemes. This is because, even though China says gambllng is immoral, it’s an industry that is worth around $150 billion a year in the country, according to Nikkei.

Years ago, American Stuart Foster had to spend time in a Chinese prison for theft, and later recounted his journey. He explained that 30 inmates slept on the concrete floor, with prisoners sleeping on their backs as their arms crossed over one another because of the lack of space.

Foster added that prisoners begin work on the first day of their detention, regardless of the circumstance. Most are also unable to contact the outside world during their time in prison. Every morning, promptly at 6:30, the cell leader woke everyone up by clapping his hands. 33 men then gathered to brush their teeth and use the only hole in the ground as their toilet.

Next, prisoners take their places in rows, sitting crossed-legged to chant communist slogans as well as recite detention regulations. After the chanting, they march in military style for one hour. Anyone who did not chant or march enthusiastically received beatings or other punishments.

Following the morning ritual, it’s time to get to work. The jobs vary, but Foster’s role was specific. Keep him in mind the next time you’re hanging lights on the Christmas tree. He spent 10 hours a day every day assembling them.